Australia orders all arrivals to self-isolate for 14 days

Agency, 15 March : People in some states could face hefty fines if they do not comply with new government restrictions aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus, with the prime minister announcing strict new requirements for all people arriving in Australia to self-isolate for 14 days.

Cruise ship arrivals will also be banned for at least 30 days, Scott Morrison announced on Sunday, amid escalating efforts to contain the virus.

Morrison told reporters in Sydney that the first meeting of the national cabinet on Sunday had agreed to legislate offences for people who breach the self-isolation rule and escalated advice to others to undertake social distancing, including refusing handshakes and keeping a distance of 1.5 metres away from people.

State and territory leaders say there are already existing laws through which they will enforce the new rules but they were also assessing on Sunday whether any changes would need to be made.

Penalties in some states include fines of thousands of dollars.

The strict measures came as New South Wales recorded 22 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total number of cases in the state to 134 and Victoria recorded eight new cases taking its total to 57.

Queensland had its highest increase in a 24-hour period with 15 new cases, bringing the total number for the state to 61.

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